UMD Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies are set for Saturday, May 15 at 12 noon at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC). Over 100 faculty members and 1,160 students will march in the event. Total number of students receiving undergraduate degrees this academic year is 1,735.
Two Washington D.C. distinguished national political experts and UMD graduates, Michael Berman (Duluth native) and Richard Teske (South St Paul native)--a Democrat and a Republican--will be the featured speakers. The two will also receive Honorary Doctor of Laws Degrees for Public Service, presented by UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin. The honorary degree is the highest award conferred by the University of Minnesota, recognizing individuals who have achieved acknowledged eminence in cultural affairs, in public service, or in a field of knowledge and scholarship.
Michael Berman has worked behind the scenes in Washington, D.C., from the White House to Capitol Hill. A Duluth native, Berman graduated from UMD in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He received his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1964.
Mr. Berman became active in Minnesota politics in 1964, when he worked on Lyndon B. Johnson's campaign. He worked on every Democratic presidential campaign through 2000 and every Democratic convention from 1968 to 2004. He is one of the most experienced practioners, writers and speakers about national political conventions.
Mr. Berman joined the staff of Minnesota Sen. Walter Mondale in July 1966, and moved to Washington, D.C., that December. He held a series of appointments while Mondale was in the Senate before working with him as counsel and deputy chief of staff to the Vice President in the White House. Currently, Berman is the President of The Duberstein Group, Inc., a premier independent government relations consulting firm in
Washington, D.C. He formed the bipartisan business partnership in 1989 with Kenneth Duberstein, who was chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan.
Mr. Berman has served on a number of national boards, including co-chair of the Board of the Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. A leading political expert, he has lectured extensively on bipartisan public affairs at numerous universities across the country. In 2005, Berman gave the UMD Library an extensive collection of important political memorabilia acquired during his career. The Michael S. Berman Collection was unveiled in September of 2007 in conjunction with the inaugural Sieur du Luth lecture that Berman delivered on "National Conventions and Their Role in Presidential Campaign Civility." In 2006, Berman's autobiography, Living Large: A Big Man's Ideas on Weight, Success and Acceptance, was published by Rodale Press. Berman lives in Washington, D.C.; Carol Berman, his wife of 42 years, died in 2007.
Richard Teske is a nationally recognized expert on Medicaid, Medicare, long-term care and health reform for the uninsured. A South St. Paul native, Teske graduated summa cum laude from UMD in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, with a political science and philosophy focus. He received additional education at the London Business School and the University of North Carolina. For almost four decades, he has advised and worked with state, federal and international government leaders and many of the largest managed care, pharmaceutical, biotech, medical technology, long-term care and hospital companies.
Mr. Teske served almost eight years in the administration of President Ronald Reagan as the White House liaison and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services. A sought after lecturer and consultant, he teaches a course for the UMD Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership program.
He has been a Visiting Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis and a regular contributor to the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Heritage Foundation. Teske was a Corporate Officer and Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Policy for the international pharmaceutical company Burroughs Wellcome. He opened their Washington Office, the first time that a pharmaceutical company combined government relations and international policy responsibilities.
Mr. Teske began his career in Minnesota, where he was Director of Legislative Research for the Minnesota State Senate and government affairs director for the Minnesota Medical Association and the Minnesota Assoc. of Commerce and Industry. He also served as special assistant to Minnesota Senator David Durenberger. Mr. Teske has established the Sieur du Luth Conference at UMD that features student and faculty conversations with creative people of diverse intellectual philosophies. Teske lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife, Judi Teske.
Student speaker at the commencement ceremony will be Ashley Brown, a summa cum laude graduate in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics and a magna cum laude graduate in the College of Liberal Arts from Hawley, Minnesota. Ms Brown earned a bachelor of business administration degree in Health Care Management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication.
The Michael S. Berman Political Collection is on display through June 4 at the UMD Library, fourth floor. The public is cordially invited to view this distinguished collection. Call 218 726-8102 for library hours.